Foodservice raises its game on chicken welfare

Over half of the UK’s leading foodservice companies have committed to sourcing chicken produced to higher welfare standards.

A report by The Humane League UK found good progress being made in signing up to the European Chicken Commitment, which sets standards for improving the lives of chickens raised for meat.

The charity said that 25 out of the top 40 UK foodservice companies, including Apetito, Newrest, Interserve, WSH and Wilson Vale, have now made the commitment which requires companies to provide birds with more space and enrichment, to use approved breeds with proven good welfare outcomes, and to introduce more humane slaughter methods.

Other food businesses including Waitrose & Partners, M&S, Unilever, Nestle and Danone have also signed the commitment which has been drawn up collaboratively by a group of European NGOs. Companies have until 2026 to require their suppliers to meet the standards.

The Humane League said a number of foodservice companies have so far refused to sign up or not engaged in dialogue among which are Atalian Servest, Aspens, Grayson's Hospitality and Harrison Catering Services.

“By adopting the European Chicken Commitment, companies can make an important and meaningful commitment to improving the lives of chickens reared for meat—and it is fantastic to see so many companies now taking this seriously,” said Annie Evans, European corporate relations coordinator at The Humane League UK. “We hope that this report will galvanise the rest of the foodservice sector into taking much-needed action to improve the welfare of chickens.”

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